Gas Price and Plastic Bags

The recent ban of plastic bags, and raise of gas price today are, I think, both good for the environment.

My Recent Shopping Experience

Wendy and I went to Decathlon near our home today. As most of the retail stores I went to, they didn’t provide any bag after shopping. They do offer a big bag as a “product”, costing 5 RMB. Wendy and I checked what we have: several clothes, two box of Ping Pong ball, and a big volleyball, and decided that we don’t need a bag. It was not as easy job as to bring it back to our car with a bag, but we finally made it.

The other gentleman after us bought a pair of running shoes, and he grasped the running shoes in hand and went away.

In many times, we rely on bags, and consume all kinds of one-time goods. We take it for granted, but now, it looks so clear to me that reducing plastic bags is exactly the right thing to do. I admit I still didn’t form the new habit to bring a bag or two with me when we go shopping yet. That is the reason I had to buy big bags from Carrefour, Tesco, and other stores, but the bags are very good, and endurable so we can use them again and again in the future.

Actually, without the plastic bags, and carrying the smooth clothes in hand, I felt much better.

Gas Price

Today, the retail gas price increased a lot in Shanghai.

Here is the price change:

#90 4.77 ==> 5.57

#93 5.19 ==> 6.05

#97 5.51 ==> 6.42

Yesterday, I heard many cars lined up to get their tank filled with the last tank of cheaper (already expensive) gas. When I heard about the news at the end of the day, I looked at my gas meter – almost empty.

The raise of gas price is a good thing, maybe. For some days (I don’t think it will last too long when people get used to it) at least, people may think twice when they use their car (including me). I still remember the time when I just need to pay less than 150 RMB to get my whole tank filled with #93 gas, and the last time, even 200 RMB cannot fill it, and how about the next time? 240 RMB?

BTW, why every time, I happen to talk about gas, and plastic bags together, like last time?

20 Comments

  1. Jianshuo, I agree with you on the effect of gas price. People will adjust to the reality and pay the going price after this initial price hike. Keep in mind the gas price in China is still cheap compared to the rest of world. Here in midwest US the #87 regular unleaded cost $4.00 a gallon, or $1.00 (7 Yuan) a liter. In Europe the price is much higher. I think the Chinese goverment did the right thing here. Let the market decide. After couple more price hike, people will change their behavior. More public transportation, less pollution.

    From my own experience, I do much less leisure driving these days compared to 10 years ago when the gas is 80 cents a gallon.

  2. in Hong Kong today, the #97 gas costs about 16 RMB/litre….

  3. I saw in the news about the gas price increase in China and how that will lower the gas price in the U.S. and other countries.

    I wonder if taxi fare in Shanghai and other cities will go up soon. I feel bad for the taxi drivers because the starting fare only went up 1 RMB in the 8 years I have lived in Shanghai while living expense went up by 30-40% and housing went up 300-400%!!

  4. Charging for plastic bags is a nice move.

    Car ownership is rising and our auto industry is still developing, wouldn’t it be nice if the central government could issue guidelines for research, technology transfer, and production of more fuel-efficient vehicles, be it vehicles with hybrid technologies or alternative energy source? Just a thought.

  5. Another option would be to provide bags to customers, either of resistant plastic or fabric (with business propaganda).

    Customers will pay a fee to use the bags to carry their bought products to their cars or even home.

    If the bag is returned they collect the fee back. The shop that provide the bags can get besides a free publicity with that bags, get some additional income providing publicity space for other companies (For example for manufacturers of the products sold in the shop) or using it to announce special offers to attract more customers.

    Similar strategy is used in some EU countries. When you buy a drink you pay with the price and additional fee, which is returned when you bring the bottle or can to a recycling collection center in the same or different shop were you bought it.

    I think this last environmental friendly policy coming soon to CH too

    About cars, I wonder why CH car manufactures are not pushing hybrid plug in cars more intensively. Given that many of car movements in CH are urban,the great concentration of traffic which produces pollution and the demands of foreign gas they produce, a plug in hybrid car could be a good solution.

    Plug in option in cars allows to diversify the sources of energy used to power the cars.

    Electricity could come from locally generated sources: nuclear, coal, hydroelectric and renewable energies. A greater number of car running total or partially under electric power while circulating in the cities would lower significantly the gas emissions produced by car circulations, and also reducing the consumption of imported gas.

    Plug in centers would be installed at home, company and public garages, where the battery will be charged while the car is parked there.

    Such hybrid cars could also be optionally equipped with removable battery packs. While circulating in the city the car can be equipped with a battery pack that uses more of the available space in car’s trunk. When moving on long trips, well beyond range of electric batteries, and where also more place is needed in car’s trunk for baggages, the additional batteries could be removed and the car will run mostly or alone with gas engine.

    Additional battery packs shape and connections could be standardized. In this way they could be also be available in gas stations (or electric power stations) for any cars to change them for newly recharged ones.

    One usage would be the following. On a long trip to another city, a car owner can leave the additional battery pack on the “electric power station” to be recharged and used by other cars later. After the long trip, when the car approaches its destination, a new additional battery pack could be installed for using during the trips inside destination city.

    Maybe a similar solution could also be applied for small trucks.

  6. Ecodelta – great idea on the battery cars. Until you realize that this electricity doesn’t come from a magic wand, it comes from China’s burning of very low grade coal. Until the country’s power generation is cleaned up, hybrid cars won’t make a noticeable difference.

    Also, most of the vehicle emissions are not caused by passenger cars. They’re caused by the legions of old trucks and buses that roll around this city and this country. However, the government won’t implement restrictions on those because of vested interests in maintaining their support.

    So buy all the battery and hybrid cars you want, perhaps a .3% difference in air quality can be achieved.

  7. what?

    are you kidding me?

    or do i misunderstand you?

    do they charge a plastic bag for 5 RMB?

    really? How could that happen?

    omg~ the world has changed a lot!

    I just can’t believe that.

  8. @brian

    Yes. One problem is the way electricity is generated. But the advantage of electricity is that is can be generated from different energy resources.

    China may rely now in coal, but in the future it may be otherwise. Coal fired plants can also be improved to reduce polutions. No rocket science technology is needed, and you have less points to control, there not so many coal plants as cars.. ;-)

    Besides. If you have the plug in+battery infrastructure in place now, half the work would already be done. When nuclear, hydroelectric or any other energy sources is installed the work will be done.

    There are two main goals: energy diversification and emission control

    About emission control with buses and trucks… Hybrid technology can also be applied to them, and as you indicate it may be more meaningful to do it with them. Applying hybrid technology to these means of transportation should not be more complicated than cars.

    By the way, there are already electric powered buses which uses batteries to bridge the gaps between the street hovering power cables they connect to to get power. Give them more flexibility.

    There is also an invention about a transport system, equivalent to capacity to a surface tram system, but thanks to robotics so flexible like bus. It is not tied to a rail network, can use normal roads. And propulsion can be gas+electric combination. But it is patent pending, can say nothing more about it ;-)

  9. On return of waste, China did much better before, but just because of poverty. Beer bottles are always recycled, since by selling beer bottles to waste collection station, it can generate significant amount of income for house hold. Just because people now afford to throw away many “waste”, people consume more.

  10. Waste is the product of wealth.

    But being being wasteful may bring you to poverty again.

    ;-)

  11. I agree that waste is a product of wealth. Many of my western friends criticized Chinese for eating some parts of the animal that they don’t eat. Well. If people get hungry long enough, and they are forced to be more clever to cook almost all part of a cow, or chicken. Throwing it away is not an option for many of us.

  12. $2.00 a gallon gasoline is a super bargain.

    Roundabouts at intersections are the way to go. They are environmentally friendly and help save on gas since motorists don’t have to stop at roundabouts. Carmel, Indiana has ’roundabouts’ at many of its intersections.

  13. Today, news reports that there is no #90 gas in gas stations in Shanghai. They are forced to use #93.

  14. @Benny, they are charging 5 RMB for the pretty durable and nice bag – not plastic. It has nice color and design, and is very cute, the bag you may think of when you are in a fashion store. So I think it is reasonable.

  15. In france the petroleum is around 13-15rmb a litter.

    As a result french people tend to buy car with a low consumption of petroleum, the lower consumption in europe i think.

    Please keep increasing the price of petroleum, it will push people to save gas, and it will help protecting our planet.

    Now china subsidies the petroleum. this do not push to save gas, and it use lot of government money.

    Better use the gov money in Education. To enable poor to go to school and university and build schools that are not the only building to collapse when a earthquake strike.

  16. Simply speaking,it has common purpose to protect environment.

  17. @ Cathy Tap:

    …depending on the incentives one is given. Disincentives such as subsidized oil prices, though, are not conducive to make people contribute to environmental protection. Insufficient awareness is also an issue.

  18. To support the ban of using plastics bags, a green bag need to be prepared always when you plan to go shopping

  19. I think it’s a good move to get an environmental world. But at first, i really could not get used to it. Everytime, i bought something in supermarket, i forgot to take the green bags with me, then i have to buy a plastic one. Now I have my green bags whenever i go shopping! And my husband just put all the stuff in his hands everytime he goes out of the supermarket!

  20. A verry nice and useful blog telling you something about all kinds of bags

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